Miss Universe Pageant Mixes Up Crown

21 December, 2015

There was a surprising finish to this year's Miss Universe pageant.

At first, it looked as if Colombia's contestant had won.

But it turned out the show's host announced the wrong winner.

Steve Harvey read the name of the second-place finisher, Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo, as the new Miss Universe.

She and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of Philippines, who thought she had finished second, hugged.

Arevalo accepted the crown and waved to the crowd, thinking she was the winner.

Harvey then realized he made a mistake. "I have to apologize," he said, while standing next to Arevalo.

Then he awarded the crown to the real winner. The crown went to Wurtzbach.

Wurtzbach looked shocked. Arevalo looked confused. The audience gasped and screamed.

It was an awkward moment for everyone.

Harvey said he misread the card he had been given.

The episode led to a long night of confusion, hurt feelings and apologies.

"Nobody feels worse than me," Harvey told reporters after the show.

Harvey wrote about the mistake on Twitter, saying, "I'd like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake. I feel terrible."

But that was only after he deleted an original message that had spelled both countries' names incorrectly.

Politicians from both Colombia and Philippines congratulated their contestants.

The on-stage slip-up was not the only thing that clouded the pageant.

Outside of the Planet Hollywood hotel in Las Vegas where the pageant took place, a car drove onto the sidewalk and killed one person and injured 37 others.

I'm Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English based on reporting from the Associated Press. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

Did you see the Miss Universe pageant and the mix-up? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

awkward – adj. not easy to deal with

contestant – n. a person who is trying to win something

delete – v. to remove (something, such as words, pictures, or computer files) from a document, recording, computer, etc.

embarrass – v. to make (someone) feel confused and foolish in front of other people

pageant – n. beauty contest